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Extended Task Resolution

So some auction thoughts.

As in, auctions a la Whitehack.

Been trying to port them over to a die+mods vs DC system, and it looks simple on the surface; opposed actions feel like a no-brainer that they would work fairly, and for converting a roll vs a DC into an opposed action, it gets a li’l bit trickier.

To make equivalent probabilities as the non-auction system we need the sum of the player’s bonus and the DM’s bonus to equal the DC × 2 - 22. So on a DC 15, if the player’s mod is +5 we need the DM’s mod to be +3 and vice versa.

We can’t have that—we can’t have our difficulties be dependent on knowing what the player’s skill is.

To match that a DC 15 (the most common DC) becomes +5, which matches the “naturalistic” approach of pretending that a DC 15 is similar to an opposed roll vs an NPC with +5, we can pretend that the typical player mod is +3 and input that throughout the range, giving us a formula that is DC × 2 - 25, i.e. a DC 15 lock becomes a +5 lock. (DC 10 becomes -5 and DC 20 becomes +15.)

+3 isn’t really a typical player modifier in a proficiency system like 5e but enh it’s fine.

Another problem with the action system is that it breaks the Salience Time Zoom principle.

We’re not really getting any new answers. One roll is already enough to know if the character failed or succeeded on that lockpicking, or bar-bending, or religious ceremony. It’s fun to do auctions with the “you have to roleplay for every new number you say”, but it’s kind of dissonant because how it breaks Salience Time Zoom.

So does regular fighting with all the rolling vs HP instead of just a quick roll to see who lived and who died… and… That lead me to thinking: what game does escalation from conflict rez to task rez? The Shadow of Yesterday! I’m specifically thinking about the fact that the GM can’t say “let’s do this roll as an auction” (or “let’s this roll as a Contest” to use a Fate Core term—Fate Core’s Challenges, Contests and Conflicts also break Salience Time Zoom, as does 4E Skill Challenges); in TSoY only the PCs can escalate into that if they’re not happy with failing!

So if I do cook up an “extend skill check”, whether based on auction or something else, that’s what I’d like to do:

Make the initial checks a little harder, and let the extended editions be a “second line of attempts”.

“Click, this is an easy lock, let’s move on!” vs “OK, this lock looks a little bit trickier than you first thought…”

You could still ultimately fail but hopefully it’ll be a little more satisfying for the players to zoom in on exactly how difficult that lock or that heavy door or that temple ceremony is, when and if they want to do so, and give them a li’l extra chance to succeed.

As a first sketch, maybe if you first fail, you can try again but then you need to succeed three times in a row. Or something. DCs would just have to increase by one, or even less than that.

OTOH I tried it a bit just now and it was kinda boring…
When I finally make a heartbreaker of my own, hit points are going out the window.